Mama <3’s Shrek Shakes. Child <3’s Shrek Shakes.
The longer I’m a parent the more clearly I see the link between how I’m living and how my family is thriving.
Or not thriving.
The longer the moniker MAMA is attached to me the more clear the meaning becomes behind the (tweaked) quote:
If mama aint healthy aint nobody healthy
I was raised on Free To Be You And Me.
I’m happily living in a feminist, egalitarian relationship with the Husband.
I still believe the core of our family’s healthy living comes from me.
me. circa 2012.
I don’t know if this is because I’m the mother (we’ve chatted about how I have a broad definition of the word).
I don’t know if this is because I’m the one who is lucky enough to work from home.
I do know the bulk of the responsibility to keep our tripod healthy & thriving falls on my shoulders.
And, while exercise is one facet of our family’s healthy living focus.
It’s a small piece in the 6 part puzzle which helps keep us a healthy, strong family unit.
- We focus on quality. For our family to thrive we need to consume quality. This quality refers to more than food. I work to create quality conversation in our home. We treat each other how we want to be treated. I work to model polite & courteous interaction. Quality consumption extends to popular culture. I’m mindful what pop culture is consumed at home. We are what we eat refers to more than food. Choose quality.
- We MONOtask. When the Tornado was tiny I watched how singularly focused she was. When she played with blocks —she played with blocks! She never simultaneously mashed clay, assembled a puzzle *and* block-played. Be the Tornado. Slow down. Be present. Mono-task.
- We find joy in the small stuff. I love the quote: Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. I strive to live this daily. Joyful laughter lowers stress, boosts the immune system and can help protect us from heart disease. Sure, laughter can be easier said than done, yet when I focus on small gifts in my life (the Tornado’s hand in mine. a text from a friend) I really do lead a far less frazzled life.
- I’ve shed the guilt. As a parent it’s not important to take care of ourselves—we owe it to our family to do so. I put myself first. I’ve made the conscious decision to meet my needs then shift focus to others. I remind myself I am teaching the Tornado it’s ok to have needs, meet them and *then* do unto others. I still sometimes articulate to her what I’m doing (Mama needs to take care of herself, have a snack and after that I can help you.), I may never shed the guilt *enough* to get beyond that, and it’s ok.
- We come together…when it works for us. Research shows family dinners create healthier, happier children less prone to destructive behavior. Family dinners, with after-school activities, have shown to be crazymakers for moms (Carla note: my study. zero science.) We do family breakfasts & rarely dinners. The important piece is coming together. Gather when fits your lifestyle.
- We play. The family who plays together is the family who stays healthy together. This play changes our family changes. For us it takes the form of playground time. Later we may be get into soccer, tennis or family fun runs. Whatever form your play takes–this physical activity and connection helps cement the family-unit and keep it healthy.
As I wrote & reflected on the past eight years, I noted how the ways we stay healthy have shifted as the Tornado has gotten older & we’ve grown busier.
I still believe, however, if Mama aint healthy aint nobody healthy.
Which makes me long to ask:
Be it experiences as a parent or as a child has my mangled quote been true in your life experience?
Do you, too, believe: